How should physicians make decisions about mandatory reporting when a patient might become violent?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mandatory reporting of persons believed to be at imminent risk for committing violence or attempting suicide can pose an ethical dilemma for physicians, who might find themselves struggling to balance various conflicting interests. Legal statutes dictate general scenarios that require mandatory reporting to supersede confidentiality requirements, but physicians must use clinical judgment to determine whether and when a particular case meets the requirement. In situations in which it is not clear whether reporting is legally required, the situation should be analyzed for its benefit to the patient and to public safety. Access to firearms can complicate these situations, as firearms are a well-established risk factor for violence and suicide yet also a sensitive topic about which physicians and patients might have strong personal beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalAMA Journal of Ethics
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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